Sally A. MacEwen

Sally Anne MacEwen was born on January 5, 1948, in Abington, PA to Quakers Jack & Isabelle McVaugh. She devoted her life to Society of Friends ideals of pacifism, community service, racial justice, gender equality, and education. She was educated in Quaker secondary schools in Riverton, NJ, where she became known as a powerful lacrosse player, a reputation that followed her (and which she enhanced) at Mount Holyoke, from which she graduated in 1970. She enrolled in graduate study at the University of Pennsylvania where her skills at lacrosse were somehow morphed into fearsome reputation as a fireballing softball pitcher. A stint as visiting lecturer in Greek and Latin at the University of Utah (1979-82) yielded both her first college-level teaching experience and the man who would become her life partner, Aaron Ruscetta. She completed her dissertation, “Theme and Structure in Three Plays of Euripides” in 1981 and the next year removed to Agnes Scott, where she would spend the rest of her academic career, as assistant professor in the Department of Classical Languages and Literatures (1982-88), associate professor (1988-2010) and professor (2010-12), where she chaired the department (1988-91, 1993-94, 1997-2003, 2004-11) and served on the Women’s Studies faculty (1999-2012). She loyally attended CAMWS meetings and served as chair of the Resolutions Committee (1989-92) and the Program Committee (1991-94). She edited Cloelia from 2004 to 2010. Her chief academic interest was in the cultural values of ancient Greece, particularly notions of heroism as reflected in Athenian tragedy.  Her coursework went hand-in-hand with her research and reflected her own commitment to integrity and social justice. Students ranked her among the best teachers at Agnes Scott consistently throughout her career and colleagues admired her leadership of the Classics Department. Her commitment to education and Quakerism led her to help found the Friends School in Atlanta in 1990 in time for her daughter Elaine Isabell to receive its benefits.  Her commitment to social justice was recognized by the Agnes Scott Human Relations Award, and the Liberty Bell Award of the Decatur-DeKalb Bar Association. Her noble, courageous, and generous soul departed after a long bout with cancer on March 15, 2012 in Atlanta, four days after marrying her beloved Aaron in a Friends ceremony conducted by their 25-year-old daughter.

PUBLICATIONS: “Homer as the Door to Critical Theory,” in Approaches to Teaching Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, Modern Language Association Publications (Spring 1987) 101-7; Iphigenia at Aulis, ed. with T. Tarkow (Bryn Mawr, 1988); “Oikos, Polis and the Question of Clytemnestra,” Views of Clytemnestra, Ancient and Modern (ed.) (Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 1990) 16-34 [REVS: CR XLI 1991 495-496 Flintoff | CW LXXXV 1991-1992 126 Gutzwiller; Phoenix XLVI 1992 90-91 Nielsen; RPL 16 1993 269-272 R. Cecire]; “Greek Tragedy and the American Western,” CB 73,2 (Spring 1997) 101-10; “Using Diversity to Teach Classics,” CW 96,4 (Summer 2003) 416-20; Superheroes and Greek Tragedy: Comparing Cultural Icons (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 2006).
SOURCES: DAS 10th ed. 3:169.
Ward Briggs

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